Sunday, January 23, 2011

When It Comes To Parenting Styles/Choices

Recent events on a few parenting sites, and The Leaky BOOBs facebook page, makes me feel it is important to address how we share our parenting choices.
I have found myself much more on the side of attachment parenting (AP) or "gentle" parenting then I ever thought I would be. That said, I do have 2 choices I have made as a parent that are not on the AP side of parenting. Circumcision and Vaccination.
When it comes to Vaccination- I truly believe that each person MUST make a choice that is best for their own family. In my case- I go to church weekly, and other social settings, where my son is in contact or close vicinity to many people. Places where many often come, even when sick, and should be home. I also suffer some anxiety, and that adds to the reason why I vaccinate. I researched A LOT on vaccination, read both sides of the argument. That said, I chose a pediatrician who has several vaccination schedules. My son- who is combo fed with both breastmilk and formula, has a different schedule then a strictly formula fed baby, or a strictly breastfed baby. Family allergies are taken into account. Also, my son is not receiving extras such as the flu shot. This was a personal choice made after careful consideration. I understand the decision to delay, selective vax. I believe that each vaccine you child receives, a parent should research and decide if it is right for your child, not just vaccinations as a whole.
The other decision, circumcision. I really talked to my husband about this decision and left it up to him. Again, I knew both sides of the argument. However, one thing I also knew, is how a uncircumcised male felt. Not Hubby, but a high school boyfriend. Even though we did not engage in sexual activity, he once confided in me that his parents had not circumcised him. He explained how he was embarrassed by this, nervous for when he did engage in sexual activity, and much more. My husband had a point of view as the boy who was circumcised and as a 3rd grader, used the bathroom next to a boy who was not. He remembered the boy being embarrassed about it. In the end, we decided to circumcise our son. I know the argument that they can choose to have it done as an adult, but let us be honest- no man is going to purposely inflict that kind of "pain" on himself. Look how many are opposed to being sterilized because it makes them shudder. Also, the research on the amount of pain a baby feels, compares to an adult. I know, there is "research" on both sides...but I can now say from personal experience- my son only cried for a few moments, I nursed him, and he never cried after that. I also understand the effect it has for breastfeeding. This is why my son's circ was not done in the hospital, but a few weeks after his birth. That said, again, I understand the point of view of leaving a boy intact.
The point of this is not where I stand, or what side is right or wrong. The point of this post is that, had someone called me names, harassed me, or "forced" their beliefs on these matters on me, it would not have swayed me to their side. In fact, it would have made me stronger in my belief that what I was doing is right...and in all honesty, may have detoured me from all aspects of AP parenting.
Luckily, that did not happen to me. Yet, on TLB page, in parenting forums, and more- it has started happening a lot in recent days. Whether it be about Breastfeeding, Crying It Out, Cloth Diapering, or the things I mentioned above...we need to be tactful and RESPECTFUL when sharing our parenting views. We also need to remember that everybody has the right to make the decision that is best for their family. It may be different then yours, but it is their right. Calling people abusers, because they chose to circumcise, or neglectful, because they use CIO, is not respectful and is more likely to harm your point of view on the matter than gentle education or opinion.
The last thing I would like to touch on is this... There is a lot of "information" available, especially with the internet. Be it how to start solids, how much a child should be eating, can find several "rules" that should be followed. The truth is though, that every parent and every child is different. What works for one child may not work for another. During the time that Lil Man was not gaining, and even losing, weight- I became obsessed with his intake. Weighing him before and after each feeding, tracking the amount and frequency of his intake. Around 4 months of age though he was not fitting the "requirements" that I had researched and seen online. I worried a little. At his 6 month appointment I expressed my concerns to his pediatrician. Lil Man was only taking in 20 oz a day. Everywhere said he should be getting at least 24 oz- maybe even more since he was combo fed. The pediatrician looked at me and said "Your son is perfectly proportionate. If he were to eat any more than he is now, he would probably be overweight for his height. There is no such thing as a "rule" when it comes to babies. They are as individual as adults and sometimes we forget that." So considering the debate on solids at 4 months or wait until 6 months, how much a child should eat until what age, and more....remember, all the research in the world does not mean that is how YOUR child should eat...or someone else's child.
The point is, there is a difference between information and education. Information paints a picture of black and white. This is how it should be- period. Education is learning how to take the information, and apply it as needed to your life, making the decisions that are best for you and your family.


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